Thursday, February 23, 2012

NSA protesters to be arraigned in U.S. District Court

National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, 325 East 25th Street,

Baltimore, MD 21218 PHONE: [410] 366-1637


CONTACT: Max Obuszewski 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at


WHO: The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore is a part of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR], and Pledge members have been active with Occupation Baltimore and the occupation of Freedom Square in Washington, D.C.  As part of the Freedom Square occupation, NCNR decided to attempt to obtain a meeting with Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency, to discuss perceived illegal and unconstitutional activities by his operatives.

NCNR sent a letter, signed by thirty people from around the country, to Lt. Gen. Alexander requesting a meeting.  Approximately 25 people, most of them from the occupation of Freedom Square, went to the NSA with a copy of the letter on October 9, 2011.

WHAT: Representatives of the NSA Police said it was not possible to arrange a meeting with the general.  An NSA public relations officer told the group to leave Fort Meade, and that she would get back to Max Obuszewski on October 11 with a response to the letter.  [She never did.] Since activists have been unsuccessful for years in obtaining a meeting with the director of the NSA, it was decided to make an attempt to go to the guard station to press the concerns about the NSA spying, its involvement in the extra-judicial killing of U.S. citizens and the firing of Thomas Drake, an NSA whistleblower.  However, instead of getting a meeting with a person of some authority, fourteen people were arrested on the road heading towards the guard station.

Each of the arrested received three citations: “entering a military, naval or Coast Guard property,” “disturbances on protected property, “ and control of activities on protected property.”  These are federal charges, and now the activists are scheduled to be arraigned.

WHEN: Friday, February 24, 2012

WHERE: U.S District Court, Courtroom 7C, 101 Lombard St., Baltimore, Maryland 21201

WHY: A great concern is the NSA’s involvement in the illegal war and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. This would include the illegal use of drones in Afghanistan and other counties and the assassination of U.S. citizens.  Also there have been alarming revelations about the illegal wiretapping and wholesale collection of Americans’ phone records.  When this was revealed by Russell Tice, he was fired.  When Thomas Drake revealed an expensive boondoggle of a computer system, he was targeted for being a whistleblower.  In July, 2011, though, the legal case brought against him by the government collapsed. 

In 2008, Congress passed an unconstitutional domestic wiretapping bill — the FISA Amendments Act — allowing the NSA to spy on Americans' international phone calls and emails. While the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit challenging the law, both the Bush and the Obama administrations endorsed the illegal NSA surveillance.  In fact, in February 2012, the government has asked the courts to dismiss the ACLU's lawsuit, arguing, in essence, that the 2008 law should not be subject to judicial review. The Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to overrule a sensible appeals court decision and deny the ACLU's clients the right to challenge the NSA's dragnet surveillance activities.

The citizen activists who went to Fort Meade on October 9, 2011 believe they have the right and a Nuremberg responsibility to meet with National Security Agency officials to prevent further illegal activity.  Those arrested have many years of doing direct action in dissent of our government’s illegal operations.  Several were from Massachusetts, Beth Adams, Ellen Graves, John Langford and Paki Wieland; Tim Chadwick came from Pennsylvania; Joy First, Wisconsin; Chris Gaunt, Iowa; three from New Jersey--Carol Gay, Jules Orkin and Manijeh Saba; Malachy Kilbride, Virginia; and there were three Baltimore resisters--Ellen Barfield, Marilyn Carlisle and Max Obuszewski.  The defendants look forward to airing their grievances during a trial in a federal courtroom.

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs




No comments: